Skip to comments.The Early Church Fathers on The Primacy of Peter/Rome (Catholic/Orthodox Caucus)
Posted on 02/03/2007 1:58:47 PM PST by NYer
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" You apparently take offense over a claim that Rome has a monopoly on the Holy Spirit, even though Rome never claimed that. But then you do not hesitate to claim that Rome is deprived of the wealth and grace of the Holy Spirit.
Go figure. Double standards all over the place here."
Of course it is offensive to Orthodoxy that the popes claim to have that ultimate monopoly. It also grieves us that by making such a claim Rome has fallen from a beacon of Orthodoxy into heresy. Where is the double standard there?
From Holy Tradition, and the early Church Fathers including Pope Gregory the Great.
Another ad hominem.
Full communion is not merely a relationship between bishops, otherwise, Protestants (not having bishops) could never be brought into full communion with the Catholic Church. But Protestants can be brought into full communion with the Catholic Church. I myself (once a Protestant) was brought into full communion with the Catholic Church when I was received into the Catholic Church. Not only am I now in full communion with my bishop, but through my union with him I am now also in full communion with all other Catholics.
Again, I can't recommend the Catechism highly enough.
If you answer 'Nektarios', then on what grounds?
"Those aren't "derogations". The very notion that these are "derogations" falsely presupposes that the bishop of Rome does not have the authority that he has. In other words, you are begging the question by calling them "derogations"."
Sort of post hoc, propter hoc isn't it? Rome declares the filioque dogmatic sua sponte at the Lateran and Lyons Councils, and for that matter later at Vatican I, then at Vatican I says, well dogmatically the Pope is infallible so the pope had the power back in the 1200s to unilaterally do what the councils specifically forbade, which was to change the wording of the Creed. The same applies to the dogmatic proclamations of the IC and papal infallibility itself. The determination of dogma, without question, always belonged to The Church in council, never to the pope until that authority was arrogated to himself at Vatican I. Of course, one might argue that that "power" amounts to nothing more than the designation of Rome as the first among equal sees in The Church. As it was a creation of a council, Vatican I, and merely a local council at that, an Ecumenical Council could reverse it. In any event, making changes to the Creed and declaring dogma for the entire Church is absolutely against what the Ecumenical Councils declared and as such it is a derogation of the authority of the Holy Spirit which acted through those councils. To say that because a local council said the pope is infallible, well then its OK is unacceptable and, as I said, an example of post hoc propter hoc reasoning, in other words, Romish spin.
"Vatican I never claimed that Rome had a monopoly on the Holy Spirit"
Of course it did. That's exactly what the dogma of papal infallibility means, however limited its use might be. Have you ever read the decrees of Vatican I? For the enlightenment of the lurkers here:
"# Wherefore we teach and declare that,
* by divine ordinance,
* the Roman church possesses a pre-eminence of ordinary power over every other church, and that
* this jurisdictional power of the Roman pontiff is both
o episcopal and
* Both clergy and faithful,
o of whatever rite and dignity,
o both singly and collectively,
* are bound to submit to this power by the duty of hierarchical subordination and true obedience, and this
o not only in matters concerning faith and morals,
o but also in those which regard the discipline and government of the church throughout the world.
# In this way, by unity with the Roman pontiff in communion and in profession of the same faith , the church of Christ becomes one flock under one supreme shepherd  .
# This is the teaching of the catholic truth, and no one can depart from it without endangering his faith and salvation.
# This power of the supreme pontiff by no means detracts from that ordinary and immediate power of episcopal jurisdiction, by which bishops, who have succeeded to the place of the apostles by appointment of the holy Spirit, tend and govern individually the particular flocks which have been assigned to them. On the contrary, this power of theirs is asserted, supported and defended by the supreme and universal pastor; for St Gregory the Great says: "My honour is the honour of the whole church. My honour is the steadfast strength of my brethren. Then do I receive true honour, when it is denied to none of those to whom honour is due." 
# Furthermore, it follows from that supreme power which the Roman pontiff has in governing the whole church, that he has the right, in the performance of this office of his, to communicate freely with the pastors and flocks of the entire church, so that they may be taught and guided by him in the way of salvation.
# And therefore we condemn and reject the opinions of those who hold that
* this communication of the supreme head with pastors and flocks may be lawfully obstructed; or that
* it should be dependent on the civil power, which leads them to maintain that what is determined by the apostolic see or by its authority concerning the government of the church, has no force or effect unless it is confirmed by the agreement of the civil authority.
# Since the Roman pontiff, by the divine right of the apostolic primacy, governs the whole church, we likewise teach and declare that
* he is the supreme judge of the faithful  , and that
* in all cases which fall under ecclesiastical jurisdiction recourse may be had to his judgment  .
* The sentence of the apostolic see (than which there is no higher authority) is not subject to revision by anyone,
* nor may anyone lawfully pass judgment thereupon  . And so
* they stray from the genuine path of truth who maintain that it is lawful to appeal from the judgments of the Roman pontiffs to an ecumenical council as if this were an authority superior to the Roman pontiff.
# So, then,
* if anyone says that
o the Roman pontiff has merely an office of supervision and guidance, and
+ not the full and supreme power of jurisdiction over the whole church, and this
+ not only in matters of
# faith and morals, but also in those which concern the
# discipline and government of the church dispersed throughout the whole world; or that
o he has only the principal part, but not the absolute fullness, of this supreme power; or that
o this power of his is not ordinary and immediate both over all and each of the churches and over all and each of the pastors and faithful:
let him be anathema."
"The claim was whether Rome has a "monopoly on the Holy Spirit". When I challenge that claim, you speculate about whether that's what "Vicar of Christ" means (no, it doesn't mean that). Then you construct another straw man in claiming that Christ giving the keys to Peter means that Peter gets to decide "whether God gets out"."
"The Catholic Church does not teach that the Pope is infallible simpliciter, but only under very specific conditions."
I think the foregoing decree of Vatican I puts to rest your positions. According to Vatican I, to be saved we must SUBMIT to the person of the pope. That's all most of us need to know. We all thought we were to submit to God.
Finally, you comment that Orthodoxy isn't even "A Church" but rather "a multitude of independant autonomous churches". We are that and as such we are The Church, not "a" Church. By the way, by your definition, every Eastern Rite Church in communion with Rome except perhaps the Ruthenians and the Maronites aren't The Church either. Or is it the magical submission to Rome which makes them The Church? That's not even Latin ecclesiology, A. I don't know what it is. You continue on with a paraphrasing of +Ignatius of Antioch. Its obvious that you believe, as Rome would have you believe, that the bishop +Ignatius is refering to is the pope. Thus, in Latin ecclesiology the fullness of The Church is found only in the Latin Church in submission to the pope, as Vatican I teaches. Orthodoxy has never accepted that and it is laughable to believe that +Ignatius in the year 97 or so was speaking of what the papacy had become by the 19th century.
Again, the red herring. Rome never claimed to have a "monopoly on the Holy Spirit". That is altogether different than claiming that Christ gave to Peter the keys of the kingdom, and the primacy of authority among the Twelve.
It also grieves us that by making such a claim Rome has fallen from a beacon of Orthodoxy into heresy.
When did you start grieving, around 67 AD? Because the Apostlic See has been making that claim since Peter handed it down to Linus. When you study the history of Rome's claims, you see it has claimed Apostolic grounds for this primacy from the very beginning. There is complete continuity on this matter. See my list of quotations from the fathers on the primacy of the bishop of Rome. And no one disputed it for 500 years.
"But Protestants can be brought into full communion with the Catholic Church. I myself (once a Protestant) was brought into full communion with the Catholic Church when I was received into the Catholic Church. Not only am I now in full communion with my bishop, but through my union with him I am now also in full communion with all other Catholics."
Is that the new Romish notion of what communion is? Good heavens, will innovations never cease? What a Protestant notion!
Where in Holy Tradition? Where in Gregory the Great?
"When Luther burned Exsurge Domine, he was scorning the rebuke of the Lord Himself." LOL!
Leo X certainly THOUGHT he was the Lord. Many of the abuses Luther pointed out were right on the money. Latins just don't like to be reminded of it.
"The Orthodox are not even one Church. They are a multitude of independent and autonomous Churches."
WRONG! Even though they are different, in matters of faith and doctrine they are ONE.
Let's get one other point clear: Latins chose Schism, rather than accepting the truth.
Charlemane and the Franks and all that wealth and temporal power was more important.
Rome disobeyed the anethemas of the Ecumenical Councils, and fell into heresy. I call it for what it is.
"Again, the red herring. Rome never claimed to have a "monopoly on the Holy Spirit"."
You really should read the Vatican I decree, A.
"When did you start grieving, around 67 AD? Because the Apostlic See has been making that claim since Peter handed it down to Linus."
Yes, the history of the presumption of the popes of Rome is well known. We ignored it for 900 years or so. It had little practical effect, per se, for that entire period of time and absolutely none since, save as a source of grief, for the West too for that matter.
As for the concept of Roman primacy, if not its mythological foundation, you are correct. Councils and the Fathers all speak of it. None of the eastern Fathers and none of the Ecumenical Councils even spoke of, let alone endorsed, what Vatican I decreed.
Well, that's not really surprising. At Vatican I, the Roman Church became quite simply the pope. That's bound to go to one's head!
"Wherefore we teach and declare that,
* by divine ordinance,
* the Roman church possesses a pre-eminence of ordinary power over every other church, and that
* this jurisdictional power of the Roman pontiff is both episcopal and immediate.
Watch where you tread, using such language, for the sake of your Irish ancestors.
You really should read the Vatican I decree, A.
Do you mean the Vatican I that says the following?
5. This power of the Supreme Pontiff by no means detracts from that ordinary and immediate power of episcopal jurisdiction, by which bishops, who have succeeded to the place of the apostles by appointment of the Holy Spirit, tend and govern individually the particular flocks which have been assigned to them. On the contrary, this power of theirs is asserted, supported and defended by the Supreme and Universal Pastor; for St. Gregory the Great says: "My honor is the honor of the whole Church. My honor is the steadfast strength of my brethren. Then do I receive true honor, when it is denied to none of those to whom honor is due." 
Vatican I, Session 4, Chapter 3 (Source: http://www.ewtn.com/library/COUNCILS/V1.HTM
Chapter and verse, please. :-Þ
Pope Gregory the Great rejected the title of "Universal Bishop"
In Tradition, the Pope was "primus inter pares" (first among equals")
From Quick Questions
Q: Is it true that Pope Gregory I denied that the pope is the "universal bishop" and taught that the Bishop of Rome has no authority over any other bishop?
No. Gregory the Great (540-604), saint, pope, and doctor of the Church, never taught any such thing. He would have denied that the title "universal bishop" could be applied to any one, himself included, if by that term one meant there was only one bishop for the whole world and that all other "bishops" were bishops in name only, with no real authority of their own. Such a distorted version of the biblical model of bishops is incompatible with Catholic teaching.
But that isn't to say that the title didn't--and doesn't--have a proper sense which Gregory approved of. If meant in the sense that the Bishop of Rome is the leader of all the bishops, the title is correct. If it means he is the only bishop and all the other "bishops" are not really successors to the apostles, it's false.
What Gregory condemned was the expropriation of the title Universal Bishop by Bishop John the Faster, the patriarch of Constantinople, who proclaimed himself Universal Bishop at the Synod of Constantinople in 588. Gregory condemned the patriarch's act because universal jurisdiction applies solely to the pope.
Some anti-Catholics cite the following quotations to give the false impression that Gregory was rejecting his own universal authority:
"I confidently say that whosoever calls himself, or desires to be called, Universal Priest, is in his elation the precursor of the Antichrist, because he proudly puts himself above all others" (Epistles 7:33).
"If then he shunned the subjecting of the members of Christ partially to certain heads, as if besides Christ, though this were to the apostles themselves, what wilt thou say to Christ, who is the head of the universal Church, in the scrutiny of the last judgment, having attempted to put all his members under thyself by the appellation of universal? Who, I ask, is proposed for imitation in this wrongful title but he who, despising the legions of angels constituted socially with himself, attempted to start up to an eminence of singularity, that he might seem to be under none and to be alone above all?" (Epistles 5:18).
Predictably, anti-Catholics neglect to inform their audiences that the context of these statements makes it clear that Gregory was not making these statements in regard to himself or to any other pope. He believed the Bishop of Rome has primacy of jurisdiction over all other bishops.
Gregory demonstrated this in his actions. He made it his business to approve candidates for the office of bishop. He rigorously examined men proposed for bishop and, rejecting some as unsuitable for the job, ordered that others be nominated instead (Epistles 1:55, 56; 7:38; 10:7). This is hardly behavior one would expect from a pope who renounced the idea of his having jurisdiction over other bishops.
Like his predecessors and successors, Gregory promulgated numerous laws, binding on all other bishops, on issues such as clerical celibacy (1:42, 50; 4:5, 26, 34; 7:1; 9:110, 218; 10:19; 11:56), the deprivation of priests and bishops guilty of criminal offenses (1:18, 32; 3:49; 4:26; 5:5, 17, 18), and the proper disposition of church revenues (1:10, 64; 2:20-22; 3:22; 4:11).
Gregory's writings show that he regarded and conducted himself as the universal bishop of the Church. He calls the diocese of Rome "the Apostolic See, which is the head of all other churches" (13:1). He said, "I, albeit unworthy, have been set up in command of the Church" (5:44). He taught that the pope, as successor to Peter, was granted by God a primacy over all other bishops (2:44, 3:30, 5:37, 7:37). He claimed that it was necessary for councils and synods to have the pope's approval to be binding and that only the pope had the authority to annul the their decrees (9:56, 5:39, 41, 44). He enforced his authority to settle disputes between bishops, even between patriarchs, and rebuked lax and erring bishops (2:50; 3:52, 63; 9:26, 27).
When Gregory denounced John the Faster's attempt to lay claim to the title Universal Bishop, his words were in accord with his actions and with his teachings. He was unequivocal in his teaching that all other bishops are subject to the pope: "As regards the Church of Constantinople, who can doubt that it is subject to the Apostolic See? Why, both our most religious Lord the Emperor and our brother the Bishop of Constantinople continually acknowledge it" (9:26).
That's incorrect. The rock refers to Peter's confession of faith.
Matt. 16:19 - only Peter receives the keys, which represent authority over the Church and facilitate dynastic succession to his authority.
Also incorrect. While the keys are mentioned to Peter, they are described as having the power to loose or bind on earth and heaven. When this is given, it is actually given to all of the Apostles equally.
Matthew 20:25-28 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."The end result is that the Orthodox Christian Church can never yield authority to the Pope because doing so would place us in opposition to the teachings of Jesus Christ.
"Why didn't the twenty-eighth canon of the Council of Chalcedon (451) become canon law?"
But it did, A. Read the excursus on Canon XXVIII here:
Well, he certainly did condemn Pat. John and very rightly so. But citing to the arguments of an apologist for Roman Supremacy in response to those who question the outrage of Vatican I is hardly dispositive of the issue. Read all of what +Gregory the Great wrote in his letters and decrees and what emerges are the words of a saint who saw the role of the Pope not in terms of a Vatican I monarch but truly as the bishop who had the care of the entire Church in his hands, while at the same time acknowledging the equality of his fellow bishops and abjuring any notion that his unique position gave him any power, or better put for this discussion, universal, immediate jurisdiction, over his brother bishops or their dioceses. It is exactly that notion which he says deprives his brother bishops of their God given authority.
"When this is given, it is actually given to all of the Apostles equally."
I am referring to his overwhelming arrogance, and GREED, especially in the "dogma of indulgences" He truly DID need to be "reformed."
The new Code of Canon Law, promulgated by Pope John Paul II, uses the phrase "autonomous ritual Churches" to describe these various Churches (canon 112). Each Church has its own hierarchy, spirituality, and theological perspective. Because of the particularities of history, there is only one Western Catholic Church, while there are 22 Eastern Catholic Churches. The Latin Church is immediately subject to the Roman Pontiff. The Eastern Catholic Churches are each led by a Patriarch, Major Archbishop, or Metropolitan, who governs their Church together with a synod of bishops. Through the Congregation for Oriental Churches, the Roman Pontiff works to assure the health and well-being of the Eastern Catholic Churches.
While this diversity within the one Catholic Church can appear confusing at first, it in no way compromises the Church's unity. In a certain sense, it is a reflection of the mystery of the Trinity. Just as God is three Persons, yet one God, so the Church is 22 Churches, yet one Church.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church summarizes this nicely:
"From the beginning, this one Church has been marked by a great diversity which comes from both the variety of God's gifts and the diversity of those who receive them... Holding a rightful place in the communion of the Church there are also particular Churches that retain their own traditions. The great richness of such diversity is not opposed to the Church's unity" (CCC no. 814).
Although there are 22 Churches, there are only eight "Rites" that are used among them. A Rite is a "liturgical, theological, spiritual and disciplinary patrimony," (Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, canon 28). "Rite" best refers to the liturgical and disciplinary traditions used in celebrating the sacraments. Many Eastern Catholic Churches use the same Rite, although they are distinct autonomous Churches. The Ukrainian Catholic Church and the Melkite Catholic Church are distinct Churches with their own hierarchies. Yet they both use the Byzantine Rite.
|2051 The infallibility of the Magisterium of the Pastors extends to all the elements of doctrine, including moral doctrine, without which the saving truths of the faith cannot be preserved, expounded, or observed.
891 "The Roman Pontiff, head of the college of bishops, enjoys this infallibility in virtue of his office, when, as supreme pastor and teacher of all the faithful - who confirms his brethren in the faith he proclaims by a definitive act a doctrine pertaining to faith or morals. . . . The infallibility promised to the Church is also present in the body of bishops when, together with Peter's successor, they exercise the supreme Magisterium," above all in an Ecumenical Council. When the Church through its supreme Magisterium proposes a doctrine "for belief as being divinely revealed," and as the teaching of Christ, the definitions "must be adhered to with the obedience of faith." This infallibility extends as far as the deposit of divine Revelation itself.
|2035 The supreme degree of participation in the authority of Christ is ensured by the charism of infallibility. This infallibility extends as far as does the deposit of divine Revelation; it also extends to all those elements of doctrine, including morals, without which the saving truths of the faith cannot be preserved, explained, or observed.
|889 In order to preserve the Church in the purity of the faith handed on by the apostles, Christ who is the Truth willed to confer on her a share in his own infallibility. By a "supernatural sense of faith" the People of God, under the guidance of the Church's living Magisterium, "unfailingly adheres to this faith."
|890 The mission of the Magisterium is linked to the definitive nature of the covenant established by God with his people in Christ. It is this Magisterium's task to preserve God's people from deviations and defections and to guarantee them the objective possibility of professing the true faith without error. Thus, the pastoral duty of the Magisterium is aimed at seeing to it that the People of God abides in the truth that liberates. To fulfill this service, Christ endowed the Church's shepherds with the charism of infallibility in matters of faith and morals. The exercise of this charism takes several forms:
I dare say that was an invitation to Protestant input.
Just because one person (me) made a comment? The article of the thread has no such "snipe."
You sniped us "reformers" in pointing to the "failure" of Pope Leo X.
The choice is yours, either I remove the reply post or open the thread for rebuttal.
Remove my post then.
Post #48 was probably missed during the heated discussions yesterday.
Nope, #48 wasn't missed. I just don't see what its supposed to mean; that +Peter was the first among equals of the apostles? I don't see that, but the councils have all said the pope was/is. Counting up references to one person or the other and then making assessments on their importance seems a bit pointless to me. I mean the flip side of such an analysis could result in some truly bizarre results. The only issue surrounding the pope at this point in Church history is what does that primacy mean, which may be the easy part and how is it properly exercised which is the hard part. Even the latter wouldn't likely have been much of a problem but for Vatican I.
The fact is that Rome and Orthodoxy are conducting a dialog on this matter. Both sides know that Orthodoxy's position hasn't changed one bit in 1100 years. I find it impossible to believe that neither side has anything better to do than sit around talking about positions which have gotten nowhere that long. These discussions themselves are causing a degree of dissention in both Churches and on both sides of the issue. The hierarchs must have at least some reason to believe the matter can be resolved at least far enough to call an Ecumenical Council. But the idea that the same old arguments for papal supremacy that were advanced by the vatican in Vatican I will somehow win the day is just silly. Something else is going to have to happen, some other argument advanced. I am told that Rome is not arguing Vatican I at all but rather is engaged in a discussion of how The Church really functioned east of the Adriatic before the schism, not how Rome and Constantinople wished it had worked, then and now. Once that is done, if it can get done, the facts on the ground today have to be assessed, a system outlined and then Vatican I dealt with. There are losts of pit falls along the way. It may never work, but apparently both sides think its worth the effort.
Something is up. The hierarchs wouldn't be talking if the result of those talks was what we see here on FR, especially on the Orthodox side because those hierarchs know what will happen if the Orthodox laity rejects what they have done, so it seems to me likely that the discussions have not resulted in what we have seen here.